Their names are pronounced the same, though spelled differently.
One is left-handed, one is right-handed.
But their common thread — talent — will be taking them to different schools next year, though they’ll be meeting again since their new teams are in the same conference.
McPherson High seniors Megan Pedersen and Magan Alexander on Wednesday signed collegiate volleyball letters of intent at Washburn University and Fort Hays State University, respectively. Both are NCAA Division II schools.
MHS' “M and M Girls” have had distinguished careers that have produced a passel of honors.
Pedersen, who will be reuniting with former Bullpup teammate Paige Regnier as she’s a standout for the Ichabods, earlier this week was named the MVP of the Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League. All-State honors are expected to follow, especially since she was named to the Class 4A Division I All-Tournament Team 10 days ago.
"My earliest thought of this child is before she went to Kindergarten," MHS coach Christy Doile said. "Travis (Doile) was working with her dad and I would hear stories about his little girls (Abby and Megan). Megan and I also attend the same church. I've watched her grow up into a beautiful, tall, athletic young lady. Megan's best attribute to this program was not being selfish and doing what was best for our program, which was training to be a hitter and receiver. She obviously has a special gift being a lefty 6-1 setter, a coach's dream. Her heart is big, she is actually pretty sensitive, but an amazing competitor."
Alexander joined Pedersen on the AVCTL D-III first team as well as the 4A D-I All-Tournament Team. She’s also a candidate for All-State honors as you seemingly can’t mention one without the other.
"My earliest thought of this child is linked back to my husband having conversations with Scott Pedersen at work that the Alexanders are moving back including their young daughter that played volleyball," Doile said. "I remember the day Jennifer Alexander called my house asking about club volleyball and summer camps. Magan was in sixth grade. Magan's best attribute to this team is her athleticism and training to get better at her all-around game. She worked her way into being our second-best receiver. Hitting has always come easier for her than defense. She had to take extra reps on receive and digging to get her level of play up to help her team. I will miss her big smile and foot stomping back to the huddle."
The Dynamic Duo played a major role in the Bullpups going 38-8 this season and finishing second in the state only to mighty machine-like Bishop Miege. Counting this season, the Bullpups are 155-25 the last four years, which includes a state championship, a runner-up finish, a third-place finish and one other trip to state that ended on opening day.
Pedersen had 379 kills this season, 41 aces and 466 assists, with a dig percentage of 62. She also had an incredible 97 percent serving accuracy.
"I'm so excited, I'm glad I've signed," said Pedersen, who originally had committed to UMKC her sophomore year but realized more and more that it wasn't what she truly wanted. "I've got my whole life figured out now."
Pedersen says she has good insight to the Washburn program because of Regnier.
"Actually this summer I went to camp there and I got to spend some time and stay with Paige and get really comfortable around all those girls," she said.
There's a chance the “M and M girls” could be going up at the net against each other the next four years.
"We'll probably just smile and be like, ‘oh gosh, we're not playing together anymore,’ but it will be fun," Pedersen said.
She will major in nursing.
Alexander totaled 340 kills and a whopping 80 aces. She had a 72 percent dig percentage and 84 percent serving accuracy.
"I'm super excited to become a Tiger," said Alexander, who like Pedersen will major in nursing. "It was a great four years here and I'm excited to start my journey at Fort Hays State. They're really good this year and they've beaten Washburn both times they have played, so that's really exciting."
Alexander's face brightened about the thought of going head-to-head with Pedersen next year.
"I think we will crack up most of the time, but I also know we'll both be playing our hardest," Alexander said. "We know how each other plays so that will be handy for both our teams. It will be great seeing her again."
Alexander will forever have fond memories of her senior season.
"I am very thrilled with how it ended," she said. "We got a state championship our freshman year, which was great, and we would have loved to have gotten one this year. But we can't be upset with the way it ended. Miege was a great team."
"Both girls had to be more vocal in their leadership role to get us through this season," Doile said. "This was something that they steadily improved on as the season went. They understood for us to get out of a tough sub-state, that the team gained confidence when they heard from them. A little 'Hey we can do this,' 'Next ball, you'll get the next one' and add in some extra enthusiasm is what our team needed. In addition they had great teammates that were also trying to contribute to the positive and enthusiastic mentally, which makes our team harder to beat."
Here the current accomplishments for the duo with some honors not announced yet:
• Megan Pedersen •
• 2014 and 2015 Kansas Class 4A Division I State All-Tournament Team
• 2014 Kansas Class 4A Division I All-State 1st Team
• 2014-2015 AVCTL 1st Team and League MVP
• 2014 Hutchinson News Kansas All-Area 1st Team
• 2013 AVCTL 2nd Team
• Volleyball varsity letterwinner all 4 years
• 4A state high jump qualifier, placed 4th in 2014
• Magan Alexander •
• 4-year varsity letterwinner
• 2014 Newton Tourney Champions
• 2014-2015 State All-Tournament team
• 2014 All-State honorable mention
• KAKE Athlete of the Week 2015 (with Pedersen)
• Won Junior Nationals 2014 (with Pedersen as a teammate)